27 Oct

Hello Old Fiends

Been a while hasn’t it? Welll I am still here, plugging away at the PhD thesis, although many other tasks and reports and proposals have bumped into the way.
On the PhD front I am now at Chapter 8, maybe 33% finished, and I hope to have it nailed by mid November.
Then Chapter 9, Reflections, or as I like to think of it “Now I read it again, how would I have done it properly”..
Then Chapter 10, which in truth I hope will write itself.
I want a bound softcopy for the supervisors in their hands before the Christmas vacation..
Other things we/I did:
Went to Thailand for the International City Logistics Conference: freightandlogisticsnews.blogspot.com/2017/06/the-10th-international-conference-on.html
Went on a cruise to Norway and it was rainy: www.facebook.com/tom.zunder/media_set?set=a.10154918642471453&type=3
Seen my lovely grandson Ollie Bear less than I would like 🙁
Ann retired..
The CHARM project ended, and probably so did any further work with the EU.. 🙁
Shacon 2017 was great. Furnace 2017 was hohum for me.
BREXIT rumbles on like a senile blue colossus, whilst everyone with any sense just looks on, including me, sorry to say.
Ah well. No wonder I feel down..
But life is good, Ollie Bear is lovely, Matthew has come home and completed his Masters, and is living in Cambridge with Alaa and applying for graduate schemes. Ann is fit and healthy (well apart from her foot) and despite putting on kilos of weight, and grinding my teeth and suffering from rolling cluster headaches.. so am I…. am I?

11 Jun

Message to my Sons

Gather round the fire children, no not quite that close you’ll burn your toes, and I shall tell you the tales of the Wandering Tom, doomed to forver wander Europe in the search of his elusive goal, Regular EU funding..

This week our hero, or anti-hero, or aging fatman, set out on the rails with his beautful and intelligent sidekick Ann, and travelled on Sunday the 30th to the ancient and wonderous city of Londinium, where they resided at the Hotel of Indigo near the lair of Paddington Bear. Having been fed well by the gay Greek waiter Ibrachim they slept until our Tom had to rise at 5pm and ride the early metal snake known as ‘Eurostar’ to the city of all gold and sprouts.. Brussels.

Here he attended a very dull research advisory council meeting and tried to seed 2 topics into the EC’s research programme for 2012, before taking the very fast ‘Star back to London and a fish and chip supper before watching the occult physician Doc Martin on the goggling box.

It was now Tuesday of the week, and a meeting with Belgians and Brits was held at the offices of the people wot run the freight service thru the Chunnel. Much jollity ensued in which our laudable lord and his minions reported on Frenchie ideas to use TGVs to carry freight from London to Paris.

Thus was the Western European leg ended, and Tom and his loyal aide Ann boarded a flying eagle and flew to the ancient land of Thrace, Macedonia and indeed Bulgaria. In the city named after wisdom, Sofia, he met with many short funny dwarfs who all smoked like chimneys, and made long endless speeches about nothing, and yet in the end proved to be very warm and welcoming in their small but perfectly formed Railway University, which used to be a military school until demilitarised in 2000.

Sadly by now our hero had succumbed to a fierce cold, and had to spend a lot of time drinking the magic potion Lemsip and blowing in the tissues of snot, before starting to feel better and writing the most exciting story of adventure of derring do to his beloved sons in far off lands.

24 Nov

End of an Era

The carrier Ark Royal is sailing from Newcastle upon Tyne on it’s last journey as a British ship on it’s way to Germany. The ship is being decommissioned as part of the UK spending cuts, on it’s 25th Anniversary. At the same time the Harrier jump jet force is being stood down, a similarly momentous end to great service in the UK services.

This affects us directly, my son is a Captain in the Royal Marines and also a Harrier pilot in the Fleet Air Arm, so as of 15th December he no longer had a role. Not that this necessarily means the end of his career or even his flying days, although I can’t see him going back to commanding amphibious infantry again. I am surprised and pleased to say that he seems to be holding up well despite the bad news.

Ann and Matthew met up with Mike and HyunMi in Newcastle over the weekend, and Ann watched as the Ark Royal sailed out of the Tyne on it’s last trip, Mike on the deck at attention. Later that afternoon Mike led the last 4 Harriers off the deck, he was the first of the last flight, his plane with a special red tailfin.

You can see it here, eve though they seemed to have changed the actual flight sequence.



25 Dec

Yuletide 2009

Here I am at my son and daughter-in-law’s house. We drove down in the morning in two cars (thanks Pam for lending me yours) so that we could fit the big new plasma TV into the back seat and surprise the heck out of them. It worked, they were quite literally speechless when they walked into their lounge and found a 42inch plasma and a new AV amp sitting there.

Hyun-Mi, her Mum and Ann did us proud with a great Christmas dinner, the venison was a great idea, and then Mike and I settled down to install the TV and amp. Several hours later and remarkably few harsh words later and a hi-def rendition of ‘Life’ was followed by a long session of Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 in HD. A success all round.

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25 Oct

20 Years Happy

JoFrom wedding

Ann and I are celebrating our 20th wedding anniversary here at the Imperial Hotel in Blackpool. Why? Well this is where we came for our first honeymoon with Michael and Leesa. Why? Well we decided to get married on a Wednesday half term, having already planned to take the kids to see the Blackpool Illuminations at the weekend. We went to the Registry Office, got a special licence and were married on the Friday. Impetuous? Nous?

So.. 20 years have gone by, the Illuminations are much the same. Blackpool has probably decayed somewhat (they spent too long thinking a supercasino would save them) but the key parts are as fun and working class as they ever were. We’re staying at a 4 star hotel and not a B&B, but the wind is still fierce as you wait for the tram to take you down to the Pleasure Beach.

Tonight we saw “Forbidden” at the Globe Theatre at the Pleasure Beach. There is a little secret about shows there… they’re excellent. A dazzling mix of Dita von Tees style burlesque and impressive circus skills, it was entertainment at a West End standard.

The back to the hotel where Ann seems to have a surprise for me.. but that’s not something we need to blog right now..

PS: It was a new neck chain.. and follow the image link if you want to see our original wedding pictures!